WEDNESDAY sees Salford City welcome Halifax Town to Moor Lane in the first leg of the National League North play-off semi finals (KO 19:45).

The Ammies secured their spot in the play-offs with a convincing 5-1 demolition of Darlington 1883 to leapfrog Darlo and finish fourth in the league.

Halifax meanwhile finished the regular season with a 2-0 victory over fellow play-off side Chorley, meaning Wednesday’s visitors finished a place and three points ahead of Salford.

Salford have never tasted victory over Halifax in six times of asking, and have only managed to avoid defeat once in a 2-2 draw at Moor Lane earlier this season.

Halifax grabbed an injury time leveller in that match through Kevin Roberts, who made up for an earlier own goal which had given Salford the lead, Sam Walker the other scorer for the Ammies that day.

In their last meeting at Halifax’s Shea Stadium however, the home side came back from an early two-goal deficit to score four second half goals and secure a convincing 4-2 win.

Both sides come into the fixture in impressive form on three-match unbeaten runs, while Halifax have suffered defeat just once in their last nine matches, Salford twice in their last ten.

However, league form can count for nothing when it comes to the play-offs, and both sides will be fighting hard for the win that could put them just two matches away from earning promotion.

Salford can be confident that goals can come from anywhere across the pitch, with three of their five goals scored against Darlington coming from defenders.

Simon Grand and Michael Nottingham both scored their ninth goals of the season, while Fraser Horsfall scored his first goal for the club since joining on loan from Huddersfield after a loan stint at Stalybridge Celtic.

Salford will have to be wary of Halifax’s strong finishes to the halves, having scored 17 goals in the last fifteen minutes of each.

However the Ammies have had a tendency to leave things late themselves, with 18 goals, over a fifth of their season’s total, coming in the final stages of the match.

If the home side are to succeed, they will have to find a way to stop Halifax’s top scorer Tom Denton, who has grabbed 17 goals this season, including one in their victory over Chorley on Saturday.

They will also hope their own top scorer Mike Phenix returns to his goal scoring ways, having suffered somewhat of a drought with just one goal in his last twelve appearances.

Victory in this match would not secure their place in the play-off final, but would put them one step closer to securing their third straight promotion under managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.

By Russell Edge

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